Historic Gatehouse turns 100

The Jamaica Estates Gatehouse has marked the entrance to its namesake neighborhood for a century, and officials, activists and local students gathered to laud it and celebrate its renovation recently.
The celebration, on Thursday, July 24, included a ribbon-cutting by City Councilmember James Gennaro, Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski community activists and faculty from Immaculate Conception School.
Students from Immaculate Conception’s Aquinas Honor Society recited a history of Jamaica Estates that they authored. The honor students searched out first-hand sources, including hundred-year-old articles from local newspapers.
An Elizabethan lodge and gateway, the gatehouse was built with river stones, clay roof tiles and stucco in 1908, by John J. Petit of the celebrated architectural firm of Kirby, Petit and Green.
It features a flagpole and a commemorative plaque for 10 men from the community who lost their lives during World War II, dedicated by the Jamaica Estates Association.
“(This) isn’t just another pretty building,” Gennaro said in his remarks. “It’s an architectural treasure that lets the community send a formal message to the world that it is proud of its neighborhood’s history and dedicated to its preservation for another hundred years to come.”
The gatehouse project and the complete restoration and greening of the adjacent Midland Parkway Malls was funded with a $787,000 budget allocation, largely allocated by Gennaro and supplemented by the Parks Department.
The work gives the road a lush collection of plants and shrubs as they looked one hundred years ago, including dogwoods, yews, hydrangea, euonymus and liriope.
“The Parks Department thanks Councilman Gennaro for the allocation of funds that allowed us to restore this historical gatehouse,” Lewandowski said, adding, “It’s a great day for Jamaica Estates.”
The event was followed by a light food reception, a surprise 70th birthday celebration for Jamaica Estates Association President Michael Bookbinder and a live saxophone performance by local artist and former Mahavishnu Orchestra member Premik Tubbs.

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